Google “Refreshes” Mobile Search Results Page

In May 2019, Google announced a visual refresh of the mobile search results page. The new design is meant to help push a brand’s image front and center, while allowing users to scan the SERPs more easily. This change affects both organic and paid search results on mobile.

New Google Ads Labels and Organic Favicons

The labels for Google Ads are now simple, bold and black. The green border around green text has been replaced. The URL has been switched from green to black as well, and both have been moved to the top of the “results card.” They have even gotten rid of the thin grey divider line between the headline and the description.

Organic results have undergone similar changes. Rather than an “Ad” label, Google is now displaying favicons. Your favicon, website name (NOT your domain name), and the page structure (breadcrumbs) are now above the page title exactly like the ads.

Why This is Important

This update might seem like a simple design change, but it has potentially massive impact for both SEO and PPC. Using identical design layouts further blurs the line between paid and organic results. Personally, I think it’s still pretty obvious when something says “Ad” but it’s not hard to see how the public could miss the difference between a label and a favicon. I expect this change to help click-through-rates for advertising campaigns (especially within Google Maps).

The update to organic results is interesting, and something you need to speak with your SEO agency about. Please don’t buy a “favicon optimization” package, unless of course you find it listed in our Legal SEO Store. It’s not something you need to optimize, but it is something you need to set up correctly.

If you’re not already, pay attention to your website name and your site structure. Some think Google is slowing killing the URL, and when I see search results without URLs like these examples above, I have to agree.

What to Do About the Mobile SERP Refresh

First, start advertising. Whether you like it or not, ads are taking up more and more real estate on SERPs. They are also getting harder to spot, which means fewer people will be ignoring the ads.

Second, optimize your headlines. For both paid and organic results, Headlines have taken center stage of these results cards. It’s more important than ever to make sure you have a clear, catchy, click baity optimized headline that captures attention and generates clicks.

Third, update your favicon. You don’t want your website to show your host’s favicon instead of your brand’s logo.

Lastly, stay tuned for even more updates. These changes are live on mobile, and we can only assume the desktop results will soon follow. Google’s announcement said “this new design allows us to add more action buttons and helpful previews to search results cards” so pay attention to when those features become available.

Test Ad Copy Easily with Google’s Responsive Search Ads

Google is continuing its shift toward increased automation when it comes to building ads. Recently, Google rolled out Responsive Search Ads (RSA) as a way to quickly build multiple ads simultaneously and make it easier to add variety to your ad copy.

How It Works

RSAs allow you to set up one ad with multiple headlines and descriptions. Once you’ve set them up, Google puts together various combinations of headlines and descriptions and tests these combinations. Over time, Google will learn which combinations will perform the best based on searchers’ behavior, search terms, device, and other signals, and serve the best ads to them.

Google's responsive search ads interface

How To Create Responsive Search Ads

Responsive Search Ads are currently still in beta testing, but you may be able to see the option to create these ads soon. To access them, go to the Ads & Extensions tab and click on the blue plus sign. Then, select Responsive search ad. From there, you can add each component of the ads: the final URL, URL paths, headlines, and descriptions. With these ads, you have the option to add up to 15 headlines and up to 4 descriptions.

For some time now, Google has pushed A/B testing on ad copy as a way to improve account performance by creating variability in the ads served to searchers. Previously, this was a manual process, but with the rollout of this new ad type, it’s much easier to test ad copy on your audience.

How to Add & Remove Access to Your Google Ads Account

Do you know who has access (or ownership) of your Google Ads account? Odds are, there are some old agencies or employees that still have access to your entire account. You may want to kick them out, or if you started working with someone new, you may want to give them access (with proper permission levels).

Here’s how to check, add, and remove access to your Google Ads account:

1) Log in to Your Google Ads Account

Go to https://ads.google.com and log in with your username and password.

2) Click Tools, then Account Access

Click the wrench icon in the top right, then click “Account access” under Setup.

3) Add or Remove Users

Make sure you (as a user) have full admin access to your own account. If it says “Standard” or “Read Only” it means someone else actually owns the account, and they can kick you out at any time.
Double check that whoever has access also has the right permissions. Change their access level if you need to – not everyone needs to be an Admin.

To add someone (a person, not an agency), click the blue plus button, select their permission level, and invite them via email. They will need to accept the invitation before accessing your Google Ads account.

To remove someone’s access, simply click the “Remove Access” link in the right column.

4) Add or Remove Managers (Agencies)

There’s another section that’s a little hard to see. Next to “Users” there’s a “Managers” tab. This is where you grant access to agencies and tools (rather than individual people). You may grant Administrative Ownership, but this gives them the ability to add or remove anyone they like. If that makes you uncomfortable, simply toggle that switch off. They’ll still have access, but they won’t have total control.

To add a manager, the agency will need to request access. Give them your Google Ads CID number (it looks like a phone number), and once they send a request, you’ll need to come back to this section and click “Approve”.

To remove a manager, simply click the “Remove Access” link in the right column.

5) Check Your Billing Users

Once you’ve verified that certain people and agencies each have the right level of access, you need to check who has access to your billing information.

This is NOT the same as who has access to your Google Ads account. There is a big difference between a Google Ads user, and a Google Payments user.

Go to Tools (the wrench icon) > Billing & Payments (under Setup) > Settings (left side menu) > Manage Payment Users (one of the middle cards).

You can then adjust permission levels, set notifications, select who is Primary Contact, and of course add or remove users as you need.

6) Sit Back and Relax… Then Audit Your Other Tools

Now that you know who has access to your Google Ads account, what permissions they have, and who is responsible for paying the bills, you can sit back and relax. No need to worry about old agencies messing things up, or worse, kicking you out of your own account.

You shouldn’t go through life paranoid, but you should be cautious about granting access to your business’ information. After adding and removing people from Google Ads, check who has access to your website, your registrar, your Google Analytics, your Google My Business, your Google Search Console, and all your other digital assets.

You may be surprised who you find.

Take some time to run a security audit. It’s better to check and not find anything, than to not check and wish you would have.

The ABC’s of PPC

CPC? What is that?

CTR? What does that mean?

Impression share? Who am I sharing this with?

There are many useful metrics within Google Ads to gauge how well your ads are performing. Unfortunately, Google has not made it very easy to find out what these metrics mean within the tool. Thankfully, we have created a handy-dandy guide with all the important terms (and abbreviations) you need in order to keep track of how your ads are doing!

PPC

While many people use this to talk about “advertising” in general, it actually means pay-per-click. This is the primary method used to charge campaigns.

PPI/PPM

Pay-Per-Impression/Pay-Per-Mille. This means you are charged when people view your ad, not necessarily click on it.

PPV

Pay-per-view is a TV term. Not important.

Campaign

This is the container that holds your ad groups, keywords, and ads.

Ad Group

This is the container that holds your keywords and ads.

Keyword

A list of terms within an ad group that are bid on to trigger your ads when someone searches for that keyword.

Bid

The maximum amount you are willing to pay for a click on your ad from a search term.

Impressions

The number of times your ad appears when someone searches for a keyword you’re targeting.

Clicks

The number of times someone clicks on your ad.

CTR (Clickthrough Rate)

This is the percentage of searchers who click on your ad after seeing your ad (clicks/impressions).

Avg. Position

How high up in the Google search results your ad shows up on average. There are ad placements at the top and bottom of each page (4 top, 3 bottom).

CPC (Cost Per Click)

How much a click on one of your ads costs on average

Cost

How much your campaigns have spent.

Conversions

The number of times someone takes an action on your site after clicking on an ad (contact form fills, calls to the firm, chats).

Quality Score

A score out of 10 of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing pages are to a person who sees your ads.

SIS (Search Impression Share)

Of the number of times your ads were eligible to appear in the search results, this is the percentage of time they actually appeared.

Search Lost IS (budget)

How often your ad did not appear in the search results because your campaign’s daily budget was too low.

Search Lost IS (Rank)

How often your ad did not appear in the search results because your campaign’s Ad Rank was too low.

Click Share

Of the number of times your ads were eligible to receive clicks, this is the percentage of time they were actually clicked on..

Search (Top) IS

Of the number of times your ads were eligible to appear at the top of the Google search results, this is the percentage of time they actually appeared.

View-Through Conversions

Conversions that are recorded when a user views (but doesn’t click on) your ad, and then converts later.

View-Through Conversion Window

A period of time that you set to allow Google Ads to count view-through conversions.

Ad Rank

This determines your ad position and whether your ads will show at all. There are 3 things that affect your Ad Rank: bids, expected clickthrough rate, and quality score.

 

Understanding the meaning of these metrics is just one part of running successful Google Ads campaigns. Take a look at some of our other articles about advertising, or download our free guide for more help.

Avvo Accidentally Emails Thousands of Lawyers with Cancellation

This just in:  Avvo seems to have accidentally emailed thousands of lawyers with a cancellation of advertising services email.  The problem… seems that these are going out to non-advertisers (if not their entire database) as well.

Subject Line: Your advertising contract with Avvo is about to be canceled.

Your advertising contract with Avvo is scheduled to be cancelled.

We are sorry to see you go. Before we part ways, we would like to know what we could have done to keep your business.

Take a moment to answer this 5-question survey so we can understand how to improve our products and services.

We will send you a $5 Starbucks gift card as a token of our appreciation.

The cynic could suggest that this is just a smarmy, albeit desperate sales tactic to drive inbound conversations with the Avvo sales staff (and more than a few on Solosez have.) However – I suspect this is really a genuine mistake; although it won’t do much to engender any more goodwill for the online directory. The sheer volume of the emails (and time of day) makes it unlikely that this is a desperate attempt to have lawyers call into Avvo. Having said that, I’m pretty sure Julie Clarkson never would have let this happen!

(Of course, it would be funny if everyone “took” the survey to get the $5 Starbucks gift card…. just sayin.)

UPDATE: I asked the Avvo marketing peoples to weigh in….

The email attorneys received from Avvo earlier this morning was sent in error; please disregard it. We apologize for any confusion.

 

 

Google Ads Taking Steps to Combat SPAM in Call Only Campaigns

One of the upsides about being a Google Premier Partner is that we have a direct line to Googlers to whine about terrible behavior on behalf of some advertisers. One of the bugaboos we’ve been whining about is law firm marketing agencies pretending to be law firms and competing with our clients for business. This has been true in local results as well as call only advertisements.

Starting in December (although our notification didn’t mention exactly when in December, but it could be as soon as…tomorrow) Google is updating their Call Only Policy with the following requirements:

  • Service providers will now be required to use their actual business name in call-only ads. Service providers can no longer advertise with a business name that doesn’t represent their specific business or clearly disambiguate from similar businesses
  • When answering calls from users who’ve clicked on their call-only ad, advertisers must begin the call by stating their business name, as it appears in their call-only ads.

Note this not only impacts the spammers but also legit businesses, as you now need to ensure your front desk answers appropriately. (No more, “law offices” as the salutation…which I’ve been trying to get you all to change anyway.)

You can check out the call only ad requirements directly from Google here.

And to all of you lead generation companies masquerading as a law firm…you’re welcome.

Google Ads Parallel Tracking is Now Required

Is your Google Ads account ready for the switch?

If you advertise on Google Ads, chances are you’ve received a message recently regarding their new parallel tracking requirement:

Dear Google Ads Advertiser,

You are receiving this message because your Google Ads account (Customer ID: XXX-XXX-XXXX) uses the tracking template field and will be impacted when we begin requiring parallel tracking in all accounts.

What’s changing?

Earlier this year, we introduced parallel tracking as an optional feature to improve your landing page speed by sending users directly to your website while all click measurement is processed in the background.

Starting October 30, 2018, parallel tracking will be required for all Search Network and Shopping campaigns on Google Ads, to ensure a better landing page experience for users. At that time, the account opt-in setting will be removed and parallel tracking will become the only click measurement method for Search and Shopping campaigns on Google Ads.

Next steps

Please work with your click measurement provider(s) to make sure that your account is ready for parallel tracking by October 30, 2018. Should you or your provider miss this deadline, it could potentially interrupt your click measurement reporting or cause landing page errors. If you are already using parallel tracking, you won’t need to do anything; you’re all set up.

For more information on parallel tracking, please refer to the Google Ads Help Center and contact your click measurement provider. If you have further questions, please reach out to your account team or contact us at any time.

Sincerely,

The Google Ads team

What does this all mean?

Parallel tracking is meant to improve user experience by decreasing load times. Data is sent through tracking tools while users are sent directly to websites. Bypassing the tools gets a user to the content a split second faster, but your tools need to be ready to handle the new system.

source: blog.google

If you are self managed or work with another agency, now is the time to make sure everything is compatible. Google Ads tracking templates can be found in your account settings, your campaigns, your ad groups, and individual ads.

Mockingbird uses tracking templates to help with click fraud protection and call tracking. We’ve checked with our providers and have been assured they are ready for the switch. For clients currently being managed by Mockingbird, we don’t expect any interruptions in service.

Google Ads Rolls Out New Automated Location Extensions

Optimizing your Google Ads account has become much more automated thanks to automated location extensions!

If you own a Google My Business profile that is connected to the same domain as your ads, Google Ads will automatically recognize that these accounts belong to the same business and will automatically create a location extension for your ads.

There are 3 main reasons why you want to make sure you have location extensions enabled for your ads:

  1. It provides more information to the searcher, making them more likely to click on your ad
  2. It helps make your ad stand out among other ads in the search results
  3. If you have multiple locations, Google will show the location that is closest to the searcher in your ad

This new feature is set to be rolled out at the end of October 2018. With this new update, it’s much easier to make sure that your ads are following Google’s best practices!

You can learn more about how to utilize ad extensions in the legal industry here.

 

 

Google Incentivizes Video Ads for SMBs with ‘YouTube Director Onsite’

Video promotion is a scary idea to a lot of small businesses. Most business owners will immediately think about the many complications that come with it. I don’t have time, I don’t have the money, and I don’t even know where to start, are just a few worries that instantly come to mind.  Fortunately, that’s where a new program designed by YouTube will come in.

It’s called YouTube Director onsite, and it is designed to help grow your business. The program is available in over 170 cities around the U.S. and is designed to help you leverage YouTube’s enormous user base. The “price point” is really the biggest selling point for this program. For only $350 dedicated to advertising the video on YouTube, they will make the video for FREE!  That’s right, the video is completely free, and your investment goes directly to ad spend.

How the Program works:

  1. Plan

    • A director will get in contact and will get to know you and your business. They will then discuss a script and create a plan for the upcoming shoot.
  2. Shoot

    • The video will be filmed on site and an edited final cut will be sent to you within 7-10 business days.
  3. Advertise

    • Put your new video to good use with the $350 ad spend on YouTube. A Google advertising expert will help set up your video ad and get it positioned to target the right customers for you.

Sign up for our Webinar to learn more about this program and how to utilize video to expand your business

 

Sources:
https://director.youtube.com/u/0/onsite/
https://www.blog.google/topics/small-business/youtube-director-onsite-helps-small-businesses-make-video-ads/